Latest desecration marks an increase in vandalism of Georgia Historical Society markers relating to African-American history, the Civil War, Reconstruction, and the end of slavery.
February 23, 2021, Atlanta, Georgia – The Georgia Historical Society (GHS) announced today that a historical marker about baseball legend and Civil Rights icon Jackie Robinson has been vandalized. The marker, “The Birthplace of Jackie Robinson,” was erected in 2001 in Grady County, Georgia, by GHS and the Jackie Robinson Cairo Memorial Institute, Inc. The marker, which was struck multiple times by gunfire, is part of the GHS Civil Rights Trail and represents a troubling uptick in vandalism directed at Georgia’s roadside historical markers.
“I was distressed to learn about the desecration of the Jackie Robinson marker, just as I was saddened last summer when I learned about the repeated vandalism of the marker recognizing the lynching of Mary Turner,” said GHS Board member Erroll B. Davis, Jr., former Chancellor of the University System of Georgia and president of the African-American Heritage House at Chautauqua. “Jackie Robinson was a pioneer in the integration of Major League Baseball and someone whose accomplishments should bring pride to all Americans. This is a shameful act of vandalism that unfortunately has been carried out against several other markers that commemorate Civil Rights figures, in Georgia and beyond.”
Dr. W. Todd Groce, President and CEO of the Georgia Historical Society, echoed the concerns of Mr. Davis: “Jackie Robinson is one of Georgia’s most famous native sons and is justly lauded not only for breaking baseball’s color barrier, opening the door for others like Henry Aaron to follow, but also for his Civil Rights activism beyond the baseball field,” he said. “This act of destruction underscores the need for an endowment for the GHS historical marker program that will help us replace this marker and others like it and ensure that our commitment to telling all of Georgia’s history will not be subject to other senseless acts of destruction.”
Other historical markers on the Georgia Civil Rights Trail that have been vandalized include “Mary Turner and the Lynching Rampage of 1918” in Lowndes County and “Flat Rock African Methodist Episcopal Church” in Fayette County. Similarly, a marker in Savannah marking the terminus of General William T. Sherman’s March to the Sea and a Civil War-related marker in Fulton County were defaced, marking an increase in vandalism of historical markers relating to African-American history, the Civil War, Reconstruction, and the end of slavery. A police report has been filed with local authorities regarding the vandalism of the “Birthplace of Jackie Robinson” historical marker.
For more information regarding the vandalism of the Jackie Robinson Historical Marker or to schedule an interview please contact Patricia Meagher, Director of Communications at 912.651.2125, ext. 153 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more about the GHS Civil Rights Trail or the Georgia Historical Marker Program please visit georgiahistory.com.
ABOUT THE GEORGIA HISTORICAL SOCIETY
Georgia Historical Society (GHS) is the premier independent statewide institution responsible for collecting, examining, and teaching Georgia history. GHS houses the oldest and most distinguished collection of materials related exclusively to Georgia history in the nation.
To learn more visit georgiahistory.com.
ABOUT GHS AND GEORGIA’S HISTORICAL MARKERS
The Georgia Historical Society, a private, not-for-profit institution, has administered Georgia’s historical marker program since 1998, erecting nearly 300 new historical markers across the state on a wide variety of subjects. GHS also maintains historical markers erected by the State of Georgia prior to 1998. While the Georgia General Assembly allocates funding to support the maintenance of these older, state-owned markers, the historical markers erected by GHS in partnership with community organizations across the state do not have financial support for their perpetual care. Therefore, the maintenance, refurbishment, or replacement of these markers must be handled on a case-by-case basis as the need arises.
Initiated by community groups such as churches, civic organizations, and local governments, Georgia’s historical markers are erected as partnership projects between the Georgia Historical Society and local community sponsors. While these groups are vital to the creation of these new markers, representing the rich diversity of Georgia’s history, they often do not have the longevity or sustained ability to maintain these lasting historical resources for multiple generations.
Historical markers are important tools for public education. They connect local stories and local leaders with broader statewide and even national narratives. Robinson figures prominently in Georgia’s educational standards, and historical markers like this one complement extensive GHS educational resources about Robinson correlated to the Georgia Standards of Excellence, including a teacher guide for using the material in the classroom.
ABOUT THE GEORGIA CIVIL RIGHTS TRAIL
As part of the ongoing work of the Georgia Historical Marker Program to recognize the rich diversity of our state’s past, GHS’s Georgia Civil Rights Trail (CRT) initiative focuses broadly on the economic, social, political and cultural history of the Civil Rights Movement. Recognizing that the struggle for civil and human rights began long before the mid-twentieth-century Movement, the Civil Rights Trail includes historical markers that explore stories from Reconstruction through the late twentieth century.